UPDATE 5 NOV: Oxford Street blockaded, UVW takes the streets demanding very simple and fair demands for the cleaners to receive parity of pay and terms and conditions of employment with in-house staff.
from @UVWunion: Demand justice for the John Lewis cleaners, Saturday 5th November – John Lewis makes well over £100 million in profit a year despite a recent slump, and pays its Chairman over 114 times what the cleaners earn.
Nonetheless, John Lewis insists on denigrating and treating their cleaners like second class citizens, who they despicably outsource for no other reason than to deprive them of the same benefits that in-house staff receive.
Not only are the cleaners paid poverty wages of £7.29 per hour – which will be insultingly increased by only 6p an hour to £7.35 an hour on 18th October 2016 – but they are excluded from the famous partnership model lauded by all.
Consequently the cleaners do not benefit from the store discount, the annual bonus, even if it has fallen from 17% to 11% in recent years, or even the minimum wage of £8.20 per hour which comparable in-store workers (aka “partners”) receive before the bonus.
Worse still is that the annual bonus is publicly announced every year in store. This means the cleaners are forced to watch everyone celebrate and then sweep up the confetti and mop up the spilt champagne as a cruel reminder of their second class status within John Lewis.
We have received guarantees by John Lewis’ contractor that by 1st November 2016 we will receive a response to our very simple and fair demands for the cleaners to receive parity of pay and terms and conditions of employment with in-house staff. After all, out-sourcing does not and cannot justify a two tier workforce, especially within a “partnership”.
However, if John Lewis refuses to engage in meaningful negotiations, or continues to falsely deflect responsibility to their contractor, and continues to treat and pay the cleaners so contemptuously, then this protest will proceed and will mark the start of what could become a protracted industrial dispute which will be relentlessly fought until justice is served.
UVW IS GROWING FAST. WANT TO GET INVOLVED?
UVW Is looking for more people to get involved in the work we do. We support some of the most oppressed and unrepresented groups of predominantly migrant workers in the UK to take on some of the most unscrupulous employers.
Please get in touch if you’re interested in any of the following roles:
-Case workers (some knowledge of employment law required but training will be given. Ideally you will speak Spanish);
-Campaigners/organisers (must have strong desire to support workers in getting their bosses off their back. Ideally you will speak Spanish);
-Translators (from Spanish to English and visa versa);
-English teachers (no Spanish required);
-Fundraiser (no Spanish required).
If you can’t offer your time perhaps you would consider offering some of your money, whatever you can afford to allow us to continue to give these workers the representation they need and deserve. You can donate using your credit or debit card or via your PayPal account if you have one http://www.uvwunion.org.uk/emergency-appeal/